Dominion to raze downtown building

Dominion

Dominion’s headquarters building will likely be updated as part of the company’s real estate plans. Photos by Michael Schwartz.

The downtown skyline may soon get a jolt from one of Richmond’s biggest corporations.

Dominion Resources is planning to demolish the vacant Richmond Plaza building at 111. S. Sixth St. as part of a broader plan by the company to reconfigure and upgrade its downtown real estate holdings.

The specs of the structure that might be built in place of the aging, six-story 269,000-square-foot building are still being determined, said Carter Reid, Dominion’s chief administrative officer and chief compliance officer.

“One thing we do know is that when we do build, it will be a significant structure,” Reid said.

She said the building would likely be demolished within a year.

Reid said Dominion is in the beginning stages of what it calls a comprehensive assessment of its downtown office space. The company has about 2,400 employees spread across the buildings it owns downtown. Those properties include its 21-story headquarters at One James River Plaza at 701 E. Cary St., a 20-story tower at 705 E. Main St., three buildings on Tredegar Street and two buildings on Grayland Avenue, in addition to the Richmond Plaza property.

Dominion said it will keep its facilities in Innsbrook and on Charles City Road intact and that those properties are not part of the review process.

Carter Reid

Carter Reid

The company informed its employees of its plans on Tuesday and will conduct a survey among its ranks to gauge what sort of designs might work best.

Built in 1922, the Richmond Plaza building encompasses the entire city block between Sixth and Seventh streets between Cary and Canal. It sits across the street from Dominion headquarters and has been largely unused since the company bought it from Washington, D.C.-based real estate firm Douglas Development in 2011.

Dominion paid $5.5 million for the property and purchased it mainly to deal with parking needs it had at the time, Reid said. The building has an attached parking garage that is used by downtown commuters.

While the plans have yet to be fully laid out, Reid said redevelopment of the Richmond Plaza site will include office space, parking and likely restaurant, retail and other space to be used by the community.

The Richmond Plaza building has mostly been used for its parking since Dominion bought it four years ago.

The Richmond Plaza building has mostly been used for its parking since Dominion bought it four years ago.

The plan could also include renovations on the One James Center building that would look to complement the redeveloped Richmond Plaza site, Reid said, adding that the building is in need of some upgrades.

Reid said the company started working on the plan internally about a year ago. It has been working with some advisers, but Reid would not say whether it has engaged a development firm. No plans have been filed with the city.

She said the next step will be to seek approval from the company’s board of directors, a process that would involve building a more concrete budget for the projects.

“That’s part of the next planning cycle is to understand what our needs are and look at budgets and options for financing,” Reid said.

Dominion said the city of Richmond is aware of its plans and that it will seek public input during the process.

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